Press Release Details

TONIGHT'S GAME PREVIEW: DEVILS at BEARS


12/29/2012 -
TONIGHT’S GAME NOTES

ALBANY DEVILS at HERSHEY BEARS
Saturday, December 29, 2012 - 7:00 PM
GIANT Center

REFEREES: Chris Ciamaga (#24) & Fred Leblanc (#30)
LINESMEN: Bob Fyrer (#72) & Scott Pomento (#25)
 
BEARS vs. DEVILS:  Tonight’s game between the HERSHEY BEARS and the Albany Devils is the final contest of calendar year 2012 for the Chocolate and White, and will be the second of four meetings between the two clubs.  Albany is the top AHL developmental affiliate of the New Jersey Devils.
 
ALL-TIME:  Tonight will be the 20th all-time meeting between the clubs since the Devils moved to the Capital District from Lowell, MA after the 2009-10 season.  The BEARS have the early edge in the season series, and have an all-time record of 15-3-1 (W – L/OTL – T/SOL) against the Devils in their time spent in Albany and in Lowell.
 
THE LAST TIME:  After dropping their home opener on October 20 and losing in overtime to the Binghamton Senators via video reply the very next night, the BEARS would finally earn their first home victory of the regular season when they last played the Devils back on October 27.  Backed by a 35-save effort from Braden Holtby and a three-point night from Tomas Kundratek, the BEARS skated to a 3-0 win.  Kundratek factored into all the scoring, starting out by setting up Zach Hamill’s first goal with the BEARS at the 17:10 mark of the first period.  Kundratek then worked the puck along the blue line with Garrett Stafford, and got a feed to Jeff Taffe who cashed in with a power-play goal in the second period.  Kundratek then finished his second-star performance with an empty-net tally with 2:07 left to play.  Holtby picked up the first star of the game honor, and Hamill earned the third star.  Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid made 19 saves on 21 shots in the setback.
 
2012-13 SEASON SERIES:
Sat. October 27, 2012 ALBANY GIANT Center 3-0 W
Sat. December 29, 2012 ALBANY GIANT Center  
Sun. February 24, 2013 @Albany* Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ  
Fri. March 29, 2013 @Albany Times Union Center  
                               
RECENT RECAPS:  The BEARS once again had their way with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Thursday night.  HERSHEY claimed a 4-1 victory at Mohegan Sun Arena, swept the home-and-home series that began in Chocolatetown on Wednesday night, and improved to 6-1-0-0 against their arch rivals in the process.  Dany Sabourin, whose last start and win came on December 7 also at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, made 26 saves in a solid performance in the contest – only allowing a deflection power-play goal by the Penguins’ Paul Thompson.  The BEARS started things off with another player who has had much success against the Penguins in the season series.  Garrett Mitchell stationed himself at the right goal post, knocked down a hard pass from Zach Hamill and backhanded the puck past the outstretched pad of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender Jeff Zatkoff.  A relatively even period tilted toward the Penguins when the hosts earned a late first-period power play chance, but the BEARS provided a steady penalty kill.  Outshot 11-6 after one, the BEARS held their lead into the second, and then opened the game up with two strikes in the middle period.  Steve Oleksy buried his first with the BEARS when he collected a Jeff Taffe drop pass and sent a hard wrist shot past the blocker of Zatkoff.  Later in the period, while working a power play, Boyd Kane and Evan Barlow combined to work the puck to the left post for Mathieu Beaudoin to slam home.  Thompson finally solved Sabourin early in the third period but the Penguins could draw no closer.  With less than two minutes to play, Kane grabbed a cross-zone pass from Mattias Sjogren and sent a perfect wrist shot under the crossbar behind backup netminder Brad Thiessen to seal the win.
 
The Devils hosted the Binghamton Senators last night and had everything going for them early, getting a five-on-three power play goal from sniper Bobby Butler and outshooting the Senators 13-2 after one while holding the slim lead.  Binghamton evened up the shots in the second and tied the game with 0.1 seconds remaining in the period on the first of two goals from Cole Schneider.  Schneider would tally the go-ahead goal early in the third, when he beat Devils backstop Jeff Frazee just 1:29 into the period.  Butler would do it again for the Devils, tying the game when the puck came to him on a bad bounce off the boards.  But with less that three minutes remaining, Jakob Silfverberg buried the rebound of a shot from Mike Hoffman to give the Senators a 3-2 victory.
 
EAST DIVISION STANDINGS (as of December 29):
POS TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS WIN% GF GA
1. Syracuse 30 19 7 1 3 42 .700 109 82
2. Binghamton 27 17 7 1 2 37 .685 90 70
3. HERSHEY 31 16 13 1 1 34 .548 83 77
4. W-B/Scranton 29 14 13 1 1 30 .517 76 80
5. Norfolk 28 13 14 1 0 27 .482 75 84
 
HEAD TO HEAD:  D Tomas Kundratek leads the head-to-head scoring with (1-2-3), while C Zach Hamill, C Jeff Taffe, D Garrett Stafford and LW Ryan Stoa all have recorded a point.
 
NOT JUST BIDING TIME :  Dany Sabourin, who made just three starts in the last 15 games, has recorded his last three victories all against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (December 27, December 7 and October 28).
 
HELD BY HOLTBY:  G Braden Holtby picked up his 73rd career win and 14th career shutout in a HERSHEY sweater on Wednesday night against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.  Hotlby ranks seventh all-time in wins, 10 victories behind Rollie Boutin; and fifth in shutouts, just two behind Phil Sauve.
 
TOP THREE TANDEM:  The netminding duo of Holtby and Sabourin, along with the recent defensive gems by the BEARS, have pushed the team into third place in the AHL in goals against per game (2.48).
 
P-MAC CLIMBING:  D Patrick McNeill is also moving closer to a big HERSHEY milestone, having played in 288 games with the BEARS.  He sits in 47th place in all-time games played, and his 139 career points (31-108-139) rank ninth in team history.
 
TAFFE TOPS 30:  C Jeff Taffe reached the 30-point plateau with his goal on Wednesday night against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and in adding two more assists on Thursday night against the Penguins, shows (1-12-13) and a plus-5 rating in 11 games in December.  His 25 total assists rank second in the AHL, and his 32 points rank tied for fourth overall.
 
KANE’S COUNTDOWNS:  Captain Boyd Kane is close to three significant milestones in his 15-year professional tenure.  The left winger needs just five games to reach 900 played in the AHL, only three games to reach 1,000 in his pro career, and just two points to reach 200 with the BEARS (93-105-198).
 
ROAD WARRIORS:  The BEARS’ 4-1 victory at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Thursday night was the club’s sixth consecutive win on the road, the longest active streak in the AHL.
 
BEARS vs. DEVILS – TEAM LEADERS:
  HERSHEY Albany
Games Played FIVE TIED (31) Adam Larsson, Tim Sestito (28)
Goals J. DiSalvatore, Z. Hamill, T. Kundratek (9) Bobby Butler (13)
Assists Jeff Taffe (25) Adam Larsson (14)
Points Jeff Taffe (32) Bobby Butler (19)
PIMs Steve Oleksy (100) Tim Sestito (51)
Plus/Minus Zach Hamill (+10) Matt Anderson (+9)
Power-Play Goals Tomas Kundratek (5) Bobby Butler (5)
Shorthanded Goals Garrett Mitchell (2) Jacob Josefson (2)
Game-Winning Goals Zach Hamill (3) Bobby Butler (3)
Wins Braden Holtby (12) Keith Kinkaid (7)
Goals-Against Average Braden Holtby (2.11) Jeff Frazee (2.15)
Save Percentage Braden Holtby (.934) Jeff Frazee (.918)
 
BEARS vs. DEVILS – SPECIAL TEAMS:
  HERSHEY Albany
Power Play 23-for-150 (15.3%) – 21st in AHL 13-for-131 (9.9%) – 30th in AHL
Penalty Kill 121-for-145 (83.4%) – 14th in AHL 123-for-141 (87.2%) – 4th in AHL
 
BEARS RECENT TRANSACTIONS:             
12/27/12 DEL D Brett Flemming Reassigned by Washington (NHL) to Reading (ECHL)
12/26/12 ADD D Brett Flemming Reassigned by Washington (NHL) from Reading (ECHL)
 
DEVILS RECENT TRANSACTIONS:
12/23/12 ADD C Phil DeSimone Recalled from loan to Trenton (ECHL)
 
BEARS AMONG THE AHL:                                                             
G Braden Holtby:  T,2ndshutouts (4); T,3rdwins (12); 3rdsave percentage (.934); 4thsaves (634); 6thGAA (2.11).
C Jeff Taffe:  2ndassists (25); T,4thPP assists (11); T,4thscoring (7-25-32).
D Tomas Kundratek:  T,2nd (D) – PP goals (5); T,2nd (D) – shooting percentage (9/51 = 17.6%); T,3rd (D) – goals (9); T,5th (D) – PP points (5-7-12); T,12th (D) – scoring (9-9-8).
D Steve Oleksy:  3rd (D) – PIM (100).
 
DEVILS AMONG THE AHL:
G Jeff Frazee:  8th GAA (2.15).
G Keith Kinkaid:  19thGAA (2.50).

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